Submitted: 07-06-2010 by ScottM
We have had this boat on the Sea of Cortez for 8 months and we like it very much. It's true that the 16 has some unique features, so it's important to make sure that you like them. We, too, bought ours "on approval" from REI as the only way to get to see one; we had paddled a 17 and an 18 elsewhere and liked them both.
Hatches are the most distinctive feature, and apparently Delta is still tinkering with them -- I have seen a recent review of an example without the rear day-hatch. It was hard to reach, at least to re-close, at least as ours came rigged, but maybe that's what a paddling partner is for. Agreed that the pod makes efficient packing difficult, but that's the trade-off for possible convenience.
We have had no trouble at all with leaks, and the other Deltas we have seen were also dry. Our "knobs" work fine though they are fussy and not attractive. One should be aware that the boat as delivered will not look like the one in the picture.
The forward day hatch is large enough to hold quite a bit of stuff, without getting in the way in the cockpit, at least underway. It has not hindered us during wet exits, but one may want to consider how the pod could affect re-entry.
The office-chair style seat is wonderfully adjustable but not well padded. I check periodically to make sure that the two essential knobs are not coming loose. The height adjustment is "quantized," unlike some other slot-type models which might not stay put so long but might give you some warning before shedding parts. I kind of like the cord-type adjustment for both the seat back and the skeg as being more nautical (i.e., replaceable without fancy hardware) than some. This is even more true of the carry handles -- our other boat, an Eddyline Fathom, has spring-loaded retractable toggles that can't drag in the water; but when I need to swim my boat, or just tie it down on my car top, the handles I want are the ones on the 16.
Our 16 keeps up fine with our Fathom, probably doesn't hold quite so much stuff but holds some things that the Fathom won't -- because of the big hatch covers. The Delta is more fun to maneuver. I'm 6 feet, 160 lbs, my wife is shorter; people bigger than us will want to make sure they have room in the cockpit, maybe particularly for feet including footgear.
We only considered ABS boats. I like the seats and the pedal adjustments in the Perceptions, and like I say we bought a Fathom too. But I don't like any of them better than the 16. That 9 rating from me is probably as good as it gets.